October 2, 2021 1:14:15 am
Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said Friday that he had a “lot of reservations” on the “behaviour of the bureaucracy and police” in the country and had, at one point of time, even thought of forming a committee to examine complaints against them.
“I have a lot of reservations at the way how the bureaucracy, particularly how police officers are behaving in this country… I was at one time thinking of creating a standing committee headed by Chief Justice of High Court to examine atrocities and complaints against bureaucrats, particularly police officers… I want to reserve that. Don’t want to do it now,” the CJI said.
He made these remarks when the bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, was hearing a petition filed by suspended Chhattisgarh Additional DG Gurjinder Pal Singh, seeking protection in a case of extortion registered by the state police.
Facing two more FIRs in which he was accused of sedition and amassing disproportionate assets, Singh was granted protection from arrest earlier in those cases by the top court. He claimed that the cases were part of vendetta by the state government since he did not agree to frame the previous Chief Minister in a false case. He also sought a CBI probe into the cases against him.
The Chhattisgarh police, on the other hand, claimed that during a raid by the Anti Corruption Bureau, certain pieces of paper were found in a drain behind Singh’s residence and when these were pieced together, they were found to be notes against some government representatives. On the basis of this, a sedition case was filed, accusing him of attempts to tarnish the image of the government and break the peace.
The extortion case was registered on the basis of a complaint of an alleged incident dating back to 2015.
Hearing the matter on August 26, the CJI had described incidents of police personnel under one dispensation facing the ire when a different political party assumes office as a “disturbing trend”. He said the police themselves are responsible for this as they carry out the directions of the government in power.
“State of affairs in the country is sad. When a political party is in power, police officials side with a particular party. Then, when a new party comes to power, the government initiates action against those officials. This is a new trend, which needs to be stopped,” he had said. “This is a very disturbing trend and the police department itself is responsible for this… Do not say that your client (Singh) was fair. Your client must have acted as per the directions of the government of the day,” the court had told Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman who appeared for Singh.
The CJI repeated his concerns while hearing the matter again on September 27, stating that officers who follow the government dictum will have to “pay back with interest” when rulers change. “When you are good with the government, you may extract, but then you have to pay back with interest when you are on the other side,” the CJI said, wondering why the court should give protection to such officers.
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